Playwright and director Luis Valdez discusses his new play Valley of the Heart. Luis talks about the shared California experience of Chicanos and Japanese Americans, how injustices of the past mirror those of today, and why theater is a unifying force in human history. (Intro: Turkey Bowl)
Playwright and director Luis Valdez founded the internationally renowned and Obie Award-winning El Teatro Campesino (The Farm Workers’ Theater) in 1965 during the United Farm Workers (UFW) struggle and the Great Delano Grape Strike in California’s Central Valley. His involvement with Cesar Chavez, the UFW, and the early Chicano Movement left an indelible mark that remains embodied in all his work. Valdez’s screen credits include Zoot Suit, La Bamba, The Cisco Kid, and Corridos: Tales of Passion and Revolution. Awards include LA Drama Critics Circle Awards, Bay Area Critics Awards, the George Peabody Award for excellence in television, the Presidential Medal of the Arts, the Governor’s Award from the California Arts Council, and Mexico’s prestigious Aguila Azteca Award. He was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. In 2007, he was awarded a Rockefeller Fellowship as one of 50 artists so honored across the United States. Valdez was recently inducted into the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences as a director. In September 2016, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Obama at the White House.